Sue Miller is a Professor of Music, teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses in music performance and production. She is a leading scholar in Cuban and Latin music in the USA, working within the fields of both ethnomusicology, improvisation studies and popular music (history, analysis and performance).
Professor Miller's books 'Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation' (Scarecrow Press, 2014) and 'Improvising Sabor: Cuban Dance Music in New York' (University Press of Mississippi, 2021) combine the fields of performance, music analysis and ethnographic fieldwork to document and re-evaluate the history of Cuban music performance practice and history in both Cuba and the USA. Additionally her recent British Academy funded practice research project employed experimental archaeology approaches to live studio performance of Latin music. She is also a professional flute player and musical director of the band Charanga del Norte, which she founded in 1998. Recent recordings include 'Pachanga Time' (2020) 'Charanga Time' (2017), and 'Atilana' (2015), the latter of which forms part of a collaborative music, dance and animation research project outlined in a journal article for a special issue on practice research for the journal Ethnomusicology Forum.
Sue completed her PhD on 'Flute Improvisation in Cuban Charanga Performance' at the University of Leeds in 2011 having previously studied charanga flute improvisation with the renowned improviser Richard Egües from Orquesta Aragón in Havana in 2000 and 2001. In addition to performing with her own group and other UK salsa bands she has performed with veteran charanga musicians in Havana and New York including Estrellas Cubanas, Charanga de Oro, Orquesta Sublime, Orquesta Barbarito Díez and Orquesta Broadway.
Her research is informed by her experiences as a professional musician as well as by her academic research into improvisation and Cuban music. In addition to her academic work Sue maintains her professional practice and has recently collaborated with Lin Manuel Miranda’s arranger Alex Lacamoire on the Sony Entertainments animation production Vivo (2021).
Industry Expertise (3)
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (10)
African American Music
Gesture and Dance Relationships
Latin Music in the USA
French Popular Music
University of Leeds: Ph.D., Music 2011
'Flute Improvisation in Cuban Charanga Performance'
University of York: BA, Languages and Linguistics
- Charanga del Norte : musical director
A musico-choreographic analysis of a Cuban dance routine: a performance-informed approachEthnomusicology Forum
2021 McKerrell, in ‘Towards Practice Research in Ethnomusicology’, advocates for performance to be used as ‘a central methodology’, as a ‘translation of artistic performance aesthetics’ and as a ‘research outcome sited in original performance’ (2019). The translational role for performance is demonstrated in this article through a practice-led investigation into the dynamic relationship between improvised music and dance.
Pacheco and Charanga: Imitation, Innovation, and Cultural Appropriation in the Típico Tradition of New York CityLatin American Music Review
2020 This article explores the performance practice and aesthetics of Cuban dance music in the United States in relation to the concept of sabor. This multifaceted term encompasses a range of meanings and includes, among other elements, a dance imperative, melodic call-and-response-style inspiraciones, and a clave feel.
Perceptions of authenticity in the performance of Cuban popular music in the United Kingdom: ‘Globalized incuriosity’ in the promotion and reception of uK-based Charanga del Norte’s music since 1998Journal of European Popular Culture
2013 Drawing on my own experiences both as a performer and researcher of Cuban music, this article challenges the essentialism inherent in much promotion of ‘Latin’ music in the United Kingdom today, illustrating how issues of ethnicity and gender affect perceptions of authenticity by means of a case study of Charanga del Norte, a UK-grown Cuban music dance band, over the last fifteen years.